So you’ve just gone and bought a new planer thicknesser! Congratulations, they really are great bits of kit and something that if treated properly will aid the workshop for years to come.
Whether it’s second hand or brand new it’s always best to get the machine set up correctly. We’re not talking assembly here, we’re talking about those small things that sometimes people skip but really shouldn’t. In the long run, this will save time and money, as well as improving accuracy and more importantly, make it safe to use.
The Clean Down
Most planer thicknessers will have some cast iron parts, namely the tables and fence. Upon opening, you will most likely come across these parts being smothered in grease or a protective wax. It’s nothing to turn your nose up at, it’s just there to stop these parts rusting.
Now for the tedious part of removing this. It’s no good just grabbing some blue roll and trying to remove it that way, it won’t work. Using a product such as Liberon Wax & Polish Remover with a lint free cloth is the way to go.
Once cleaned down, you should cover all surfaces where the wood will pass with a specially formulated wax. This will not only prevent rust but also help the wood easily slide across the surface.
For upkeep, this process should be repeated often to keep the tables clean and maintain their rust free finish.
An integral part of any planer thicknesser, there are two things you need to set up with your fence before you can begin:
Setting the fence to 90 degrees
This is done with a 90 degree square being placed against the outfeed table and fence. If it’s not square, adjustment can usually be found at the rear of the fence assembly.
Checking the fence is parallel to the table
Something that is often forgotten but shouldn’t be, using a precision ruler, check the distance between the fence on the infeed and outfeed tables to see if they are the same distance apart.
The Planer Knives
Unless you have purchased yourself a new spiral cutter planer thicknesser, where the TCT cutters are already set, this is something you have to do. If you don’t get this right you can kiss goodbye to accurate planing and thicknessing.
Often considered an extremely tedious and long winded task, setting and resetting the knives is not that bad. It would however, be a lengthy explanation going through the whole process. Fortunately here is a short video to help you set your planer knives correctly.
Planer blade setting jig and cutter block set up:
Please make sure that the machine is disconnected from the mains before doing this.
Now that your planer thicknesser is set up and ready to go, you need to consider future maintenance, to keep it performing as well as it does now.
We have put together a daily, weekly and monthly checklist, to help you do just that.
This is just a quick guide into the setting up of a planer thicknesser, where it’s old or new, big or small, the principles will generally be the same. We hope that it’s helped you get your machine ready for use. Watch this space as there will be more setting up machine articles coming soon.